SLPP again claims Gota US citizenship rescinded

In what appeared to be a hurriedly convened media briefing in Colombo yesterday, lawyers for Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s insisted that despite non-appearance of any US federal government confirmation of their candidate’s rescinded American citizenship, his renunciation of US citizenship was fully legal. Rajapaksa legal representative Attorney Ali Sabry, PC, at the news briefing at the Kingsbury Hotel, showed journalists Rajapaksa’s US passport bearing a ‘CANCEL’ seal on its first page declaring: “He is no longer a dual citizen.”

“This renunciation is valid since April 17 this year according to the Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United State and the passport has been cancelled as Rajapaksa is no longer a US citizen”, Sabry announced. Yesterday’s media briefing was so hurriedly called that many journalists could not find seating in a venue already crowded with participants of another Rajapaksa campaign activity.

Sabry was responding yesterday to social media messaging that cast doubts on the veracity of the Rajapaksa claim to have finalised his ending of American citizenship. Under current Sri Lankan law only a solely Sri Lankan citizen can stand for election. Twitter messaging by Minister Harin Fernando on Saturday claimed that Rajapaksa had yet to confirm his rescinding of dual citizenship. Minister Fernando had also published his claim on his Facebook page.

The Minister’s message said: ‘The Federal Register denouncing the individuals of their U.S Citizenship released with Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapksha’s name not in it. @gotabayaR will remain a citizen of USA and will not be able to function as President even if he is elected into office.’ However, Sabry said all documents related to the renunciation of US citizenship have been handed over to the Elections Commission of Sri Lanka. He argued that, therefore, there was no truth in the rumors being spread that Rajapaksa is still a US citizen and noted that Minister Fernando also had removed his post shared on FB by the time of the press conference.

However, Minister Fernando, issuing another Twitter message last evening said that the Facebook Company had censored his post relating to the Americal Citizenship of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and condemned the censoring. “I condemn @facebook for censoring my posts regarding American citizenship of @GotabayaR. American companies shouldn’t interfere on behalf of an American contesting a SL election. I stand by my every word. All my statements remain intact here on Twitter for ur reference @alisabry”, the minister said on Twitter. Yesterday’s SLPP media briefing ended hurriedly despite further questioning by journalists on aspects of the citizenship documentation. Rajapaksa’s legal representatives failed to reply further questioning including queries whether Mrs. Ayoma Rajapaksa, the candidate’s spouse, still remained an US citizen.

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